press review

Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials on WKAR’s BackStage Pass

Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials recording for BackStage Pass at the 2017 Michigan BluesFest – Photo: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU

World-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been performing for nearly 30 years. Led by front man Lil’ Ed with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, this group is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets. The Chicago Sun-Times says, “Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are the hottest purveyors of bottleneck boogie to come out of Chicago since Hound Dog Taylor…

This 30-year-old band fuels the stage with big blues sound.

WKAR, public media from Michigan State University, will first air Episode 906 of its BackStage Pass show on December 8, 2018, at 10 pm on WKAR-HD 23.1. 

The show is already available for WKAR members.

Syracuse.com: “Fun and spontaneous live shows”

Playing since he was 12, Lil’ Ed, or Ed for short, has become a masterful blues musician over decades of playing, performing, and touring. Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have received critical praise from the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times, among many more, for their skillfully rendered and soulful blues music. They’re also regarded for their fun and spontaneous live shows, giving fans a reason to get up on their feet and celebrate…

Grace Carlic put Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials in her list of “7 shows to see”, before the band’s performance at Funk ‘n Waffles, in Syracuse, New York, this Thursday, November 16.

Read the full story in Syracuse.com

The Press of Atlantic City: “As real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets”

In Chicago, a city overflowing with unrivaled blues talent, world-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been standing tall for almost 30 years. The band’s big sound, fueled by Lil’ Ed’s gloriously rollicking slide work and deep blues string bending, along with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets.

In The Press of Atlantic City, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials show, on October 14, at the Lizzie Rose Music Room, in Tuckerton, New Jersey, on October 14.

“Smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned shuffle”

Currently celebrating 30 history-making years together, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials ply their musical talents with skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed Williams and his Blues Imperials — bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton — deliver gloriously riotous, rollicking and intensely emotional blues.

In the Shepherd Express, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials’ performances as part of the Peanut Butter & Jam Concert Series in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Read the full story in the Shepherd Express

The North Atlantic Blues Festival “with style”

The 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival got off to a rousing start Saturday, July 14, under partly cloudy skies. Festival-goers enjoyed a light breeze, which kept things cooler than in some previous years.

And the music followed! “Blues Festival celebrates 25 years in style,” wrote Sarah E. Reyolds, who published photos of Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials for her review of the North Atlantic Blues Festival which took place in Rockland, Maine, on July 14 and 15.

Lil’ Ed takes the stage with his Blues Imperials Sunday afternoon, July 15, at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland © Sarah E. Reyolds

Photographers crowd in front of the stage to get a shot of Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials July 15 © Sarah E. Reyolds

Lil’ Ed and some of the Blues Imperials delight the crowd at the North American Blues Festival July 15 in Rockland © Sarah E. Reyolds

Read the full story on Knox Village Soup.

 

“Big sound, big entertainment, lots of fun”

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (3:15 p.m.) is known for big sound — and big entertainment. Expect great Chicago blues and lots of on-stage, and in-audience, fun.

Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials will give some “Blues we can use”, according to Dagney C. Ernest, before his performance on Sunday, July 15, at 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival, in Rockland, Maine.

Read the full story in Village Soup Knox. 

“Most accomplished, longest running Chicago blues band”

Celebrating their 30th year, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have established themselves as one of the most accomplished, longest-running Chicago blues bands of all time.

The group released eight albums from 1986 and 2012 and won numerous awards including the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band of the Year in 2007 and 2009.

The band’s lineup has remained the same for three decades with front man Ed Williams (lead guitar and vocals), Michael Garrett (rhythm guitar and vocals), James “Pookie” Young (bass) and Kelly Littleton (drums).

Williams grew up on the west side of Chicago and was taught by his uncle J.B. Hutto, a legendary Chicago slide-guitarist, songwriter and recording artist. […]

By Jeffrey Zampanti, presenting the 17th season of Peanut Butter & Jam, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials will be performing on August 16.

Read the full story in Kenosha News

 

“Enjoyed Lil’ Ed
on Beale Street”

Celebrated the father’s 70th birthday with a trip to Memphis this weekend and enjoyed Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials at The Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street.

– By Chad Bishop, who made Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials his “Musical Pick of the Week” as he also relived the biggest stories of Western Kentucky University athletics from this past year, on WBKO.

“Riotous, rollicking, intensely
emotional blues”

Currently celebrating 30 history-making years together, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (…] ply their musical talents with skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed Williams and his Blues Imperials —bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton— deliver gloriously riotous, rollicking and intensely emotional blues.

Their newest release, The Big Sound of Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials is musically electrifying, emotionally intense and downright fun. It features Lil’ Ed Williams’ incendiary guitar playing and soulful, passionate singing, with the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cooking like mad alongside him. Williams wrote or co-wrote all but two of album’s 14 songs (those two being written by Lil’ Ed’s legendary uncle, Chicago slide guitar king and master songwriter J.B. Hutto).

In The Montgomery Advertiser, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials show in Alabama this Sunday, May 20, at Capitol Oyster Bar in Montgomery, Alabama.

Chicago Tribune: “More fiery
and energetic every year”

“Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials is James “Pookie” Young, from left, Mike Garrett, Lil’ Ed Williams and Kelly Littleton.” Photo Paul Natkin

The only question for Chicago blues fans in January, is which Buddy Guy show to pick during the 81-year-old guitar hero’s annual run at his South Loop nightclub, Legends. One way to distinguish his 16 performances, at least in advance, is by the opening act — fortunately, the proprietor has put some thought into picking top names. […]

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials. Although they’ve been steadily releasing albums and playing clubs and roadhouses since their first gig on the West Side in 1975, the Blues Imperials grow more fiery and energetic every year. Taught by his uncle, underrated Chicago bluesman J.B. Hutto, bandleader Ed Williams initially worked as a car-wash buffer to enable his music career; behind his colorful fezzes and jackets and party-time shows is a steady work ethic. The Blues Imperials roll out a stomping album on local label Alligator every couple of years — 2006’s Rattlesnake was a peak.

By Steve Knopper. Read the full story, in the Chicago Tribune